2022-09-12 ● Everything is connected

A small blue sign that reads “The Tree Museum” nailed onto a tree.

My friends and I went on a hike at The Tree Museum the other day, off of Gravenhurst, Ontario. It was a good break from spending weeks (or more?) in front of the computer. I had been wanting to get away (not too away), and the museum was open only from June to October, so this was an opportunity for a lovely change of pace.

Skyshelter (2004) by E.J. Lightman, a large shed that serves as shelter installed into trees and rocks.

I’d forgotten how great hikes can be for my body and mind. My head was mostly empty, just trying to take everything in, one step at a time, left leg, then right, left, then right, remembering how my limbs work as if I hadn’t used them in a while. I felt rusty, with cobwebs and all.

On the Shield (2016) by Badanna Zack, a large stone structure of a house without a roof, that references the human history of early settlement in the Muskoka area.

Forging on ahead, trying not to trip over any stones, roots, or plants, but stopping to see the mushrooms and the trees, and any small animals or insects (we spotted a chipmunk and a grasshopper). Left, right, left, right. Making a mental and physical memory of it all.

As we ventured further in, I could feel sweat on my skin, but under the shade of trees, the air was nice and cool.

A Mound of Cars (1998) by Badanna Zack, a small mountain of old cars or parts of cars that have integrated into the soil, plants, and trees.

The trail took us on several meandering paths deeper into the forest, and peppered throughout were, some large, some small, pieces of art installations. While there were those that seemed to completely integrate themselves into their surroundings, others felt almost invasive and out of place. It was interesting to see how the artists described their perceived relationship between humans and nature.

One of the works was as old as 1998! To the point that it had been engulfed by the soil, plants, and trees, as if it had always been there.

A person's reflection in a large, round mirror that is sitting at the bottom of a tree and surrounded by leaves and other plants

We shared the books we were reading recently, and A is currently reading The Secret Life of Fungi. She mentioned how, for millennia, mycelium and trees have their own network where they share and exchange information in order to survive.

A also mentioned that trees like to move very slowly, at their own pace. Ah, how I, too, would like to be like a tree, when everything is going by so quickly and there isn’t enough time for anything else.

As I caught my own breath, I remembered that slowing down is more important than hurrying up.

A couple of fly agaric mushrooms (?) growing on the ground.

Continuing on thinking about biomimicry: how can we be like nature, forming human and environmental networks of care in this fast-paced, capitalist, technocratic, utilitarian rondo to destruction? It reminded me a lot of Taeyoon Choi’s Distributed Web of Care and creating diverse communities focused on trust, accessibility, and inclusivity; building with nature, not against. I think we often forget that she is our first elder and ancestor, and with that should come reverence and mutual respect.

The view of two people's backs walking along a trail in the forest of The Tree Museum.

K started singing an old song by Joey Ayala, “Ang Lahat ng Bagay ay Magkaugnay” (Everything is connected.) I roughly translated parts of the lyrics:

Lupa, laot, langit ay magkaugnay
Hayop, halaman, tao ay magkaugnay

Land, sea, and sky are all interconnected
Animals, plants, and humans are all interconnected

Iisang pinagmulan
Iisang hantungan ng ating lahi
Kamag-anak at katribo ang lahat ng narito
Sa lupa, sa laot at sa langit

One beginning
One end
We are all tribespeople here, together
To the land, the sea, and the sky

Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay
Magkaugnay ang lahat

All things are connected
We are all connected